A study on science teachers´ use of design features of a simulated visual laboratory to develop active involvement of students in the teaching of thermodynamics at senior high school
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In this paper we describe a small-scale exploratory study on how in-service science teachers of Greek senior high schools can take advantage of facilities included in a simulated visual Lab to create innovative open activities for teaching Thermodynamics. The visual laboratory used, is part of ‘SEP’, a micro-world for the teaching of thermal phenomena that is designed as an open environment with a high degree of user interaction and direct manipulation of virtual objects, multiple real time graphs and high consistency with scientific content. The sample of the study consists of experienced high school teachers. Teachers were asked to propose ways they envision to use the open environment facilities of SEP to improve students’ involvement and make up for some difficulties in specific chapters of Thermodynamics. The results show that the teachers managed to compose ways of didactic exploitation in the form of worksheets for their students. They suggested specific well-articulated ways to explore the open nature of the micro-world within its specification, while, at the same time, they revealed a positive disposition concerning its possible use.